International Women’s Day

Women's DayEach year, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th; observances began in the early twentieth century, in cities such as New York and Chicago, when the day focused on working women. In 1908, “15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.” You can read a brief timeline of the history of International Women’s Day here, or read more about the UN’s programming related to economic development and the work of their Commission on the Status of Women.

Many people will be tweeting their International Women’s Day events and observances using the hashtag #womensday, and you can follow accounts such as @womensday for more information. Each International Women’s Day has a theme, selected by the United Nations. The theme for 2014 is “Equality for Women is Progress for All.” There are currently four upcoming events planned for Boston, MA, including:

  • FACCNE’s Women in Business Networks Opening Reception (March 6)
  • Moving Women’s Wages Forward Locally and Globally (March 7)
  • The Artist, the Scholar and the Athlete: The Nichols House Museum Celebrates International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • Boston Celebrates International Women’s Day (March 8)

You can find more information about these events, and other events internationally, here.

If you’d like to learn more about International Women’s Day, or about women’s experiences throughout history, the Library subscribes to a number of databases that can help you research everything from women’s involvement in major social movements to the lived experiences of their daily lives:

  • Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000: Last year, Stonehill users conducted 1120 searches in this database; the Reference Team uses information such as this to help us make decisions when databases are up for renewal. Organized around the history of women in social movements, this collection seeks to advance scholarly debates and understanding about U.S. history generally at the same time that it makes the insights of women’s history accessible to teachers and students. The collection currently includes 110 document projects and archives with more than 4,350 documents and more than 153,000 pages of additional full-text documents, written by more than 2,200 primary authors. It also includes book, film, and website reviews, notes from the archives, and teaching tools.
  • British and Irish Women’s Letters and Diaries: Use this database to read about the experiences of approximately 500 women, as revealed in over 90,000 pages of diaries and letters. Particular care has been taken to index this material so that it can be searched more thoroughly than ever before, and the collection includes primary materials spanning more than 300 years.
  • Cambridge Histories Online: This unique reference compendium allows instant access to the texts of the Cambridge Histories series. Stonehill users have access to a online histories related specifically to women’s history, including The Cambridge History of American Women’s Literature, Women in Modern India, as well as a broad range of reference texts that touch on issues of gender and sexuality studies in history and literature.
  • Manuscript Women’s Letters and Diaries: Manuscript Women’s Letters and Diaries from the American Antiquarian Society brings together 105,000 pages of the personal writings of women of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, displayed as high-quality images of the original manuscripts, Semantically Indexed and online for the first time. The collection is drawn entirely from the extensive holdings of the American Antiquarian Society. It currently contains over 103,000 pages.
  • North American Women’s Letters and Diaries: North American Women’s Letters and Diaries includes the immediate experiences of 1,325 women and 150,000 pages of diaries and letters. Particular care has been taken to index this material so that it can be searched more thoroughly than ever before.  The materials have been carefully chosen using leading bibliographies, supplemented by customer requests and more than 7,000 pages of previously unpublished material. The collection also includes biographies and an extensive annotated bibliography of the sources in the database.

Remember, too, that you don’t have to visit a database that has “women” in its title to find rich, significant resources related to women’s history, gender and sexuality studies, women’s rights, and other important research topics. The libraries subscription databases cover a broad range of disciplines, and reference librarians are available to help you determine which database and search techniques are best suited to getting to the information you want. For assistance, email us at, call 508-565-1203, or find us on LibChat!